Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why Baby Pictures Should Never Be Scheduled On Moving Day

Today is the day! Everything needs to be moved out of the apartment and into storage. I knew it would be a busy day, but yesterday I realized I haven't taken Victoria to get her picture taken and I really should before we go, so...of course I scheduled that for today too.

Jason and his brother and two nephews were busily working, carrying out all the large furniture and clearing away all the remaining junk in several storage units that we don't need any more. I was in charge of packing up the kitchen. Everything was going great - Victoria was sound asleep, Antalya was engrossed in an episode of Seasame Street. I got one box packed before realizing I needed to bake a cake to take to family dinner tomorrow and now would be the best time to do that. I quickly make the cake, throw it in the oven, make the frosting, and then wash all the dishes. I throw the remaining eggs in a pot to hard boil so we can eat them without dirtying a dish. Before I know it the cake is almost done, along with the eggs. I will have just enough time to quickly take a shower with Antalya, wake up Victoria, feed her, and then make it to our 11:00 picture appointment. But just as I was commending myself for having such a smooth morning - everything suddenly takes a turn.

Seasame Street ends - Antalya decides she wants to take a bath so she heads upstairs, hops in the bathtub with her clothes on and turns on the water. Victoria wakes up screaming, the cake has 4 minutes left, and the eggs are still boiling. I'm stuck. All I could do was tell Antalya she needs to take off her clothes if she wants to take a bath (she doesn't know how to take them off by herself - but at least I feel like I have done something). I tell Victoria its alright and that I will be right back (of course this doesn't calm her down - she's an infant - she doesn't understand me). I rush back downstairs and watch the timer for a minute and decide I can't wait any longer. I pull the cake out, turn the oven off, and then turn the burner under the eggs off hoping they will also be done if I cut it short a few minutes. Race back upstairs. Take Antalya's clothes off, quickly bath her, rush to get my screaming Victoria, put Victoria in the bath with Antalya for a quick wash, take Victoria out and get her dressed and calm.

Antalya is still happily playing in the tub, start nursing Victoria. Antalya decides she's all done, hops out and comes runninig towards me. She slips (the bathroom rugs are already packed) and hurts herself. I set Victoria down which makes her scream, chase Antalya with a towel, pin her down to put a diaper on, try to find clothes for her - but I cant remember where I've put them amidst all the chaos. In the meantime Antalya has torn her diaper off and is running towards Victoria yelling "baby, baby, baby" (that's my queue to go rescue Victoria). Somehow in the next 10 minutes I manage to get us all dressed, Victoria fed, and the girls in the car. I cant find the bow I bought to put on Victoria, but that's alright, I'll just stop at Kid 2 Kid on the way and run in to grab one. It's already 11:00, but I stop anyways to grab the bow. I go to pay only to realize I have spent my last dollar at the dry cleaner early today, my Visa card has been canceled and the new one hasn't arrived yet, which leaves me with only my American Express which the store does not accept. So I race back out to the car and scrounge up all the change I can find, luckily it is enough and I am able to pay for the bow and leave. We arrive at the portrait studio 15 minutes late, but they are kind enough to still get us in. This mother breathes a huge sigh of relief!

The pictures turned out great. Victoria looked beautiful. And I'm glad I made the effort to record what she looked like at this stage.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Change is Coming

I've always enjoyed change - especially changing my surroundings. From the time I graduated high school until when I got married seven years later I lived in more than ten different places. I have such fond memories of everyplace I have ever called home, but at the same time, I enjoyed the unknown of each move I made. I must admit that when Jason was trying to convince me to move here more than four years ago the only reason I agreed to it was because we both agreed we would be here for only six months. That six months soon turned into one year, which turned into six months more, then six months more, then "we'll stay until something else comes up". Well, with very mixed emotions, our time is here!

I am so excited to start a new adventure in a new place, a new home, with new surroundings, but yet I can't help but feel sadness of leaving our home here. For the first time in my adult life, I feel like I really started to lay down my roots. There is so much I will miss when we board the plane for London in 10 days.

One of the joys of living here is the river trail. The trail passes right behind our home, and is a popular path for wlkers, joggers, and bikers. Since Antalya was born I have used the trail nearly every day - whether it was taking the dog for a walk, walking to the park or grocery store, training for a marathon, teaching Antalya about nature, or just plain enjoying some fresh air we always head to the trail. I've learned to look forward to the way the change of seasons changes the pathway. In the winter the path becomes a frozen wonderland. The snow sticks to the branches of the trees creating a magically canopy overhead. In the spring, the river rages down the river bed and cotton covers the walkway. In the summer, the trees provide a much needed reprieve from the heat. And in the fall the leaves crunch under your feet and the river slows. I will miss you, dear river walkway!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Maybe some of you have noticed that the first thing I do when I enter a room is access every possible danger and escape route, or that when you are trying to have a conversation with me my eyes are never focused on you. It's not that I'm not interested in having conversations with other adults, nor do I deadbolt every door out of fear of someone entering from the outside. It's just that the second I take my eyes off Antalya she disappears. It's more than just a tendency to wander - it is deliberately running away when I am not looking. Yes, she will watch until I turn my head or I am distracted to make her disappearance.

I didn't know there was a word her behavior until today when I read Debbie's great post on Understanding and Preventing Elopement. Although I am relieved to know I am not the only mother out there that struggles with this issue, it is also unnerving to know Antalya's behavior isn't just part of the terrible twos. Deep down I knew this was going to be an issue we would struggle with for a long time, but I must admit that part of me has been hoping this would be a short lived phase. Let's hope the deadbolts in London are too tall for her to reach!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Victoria's Birth

It's hard to believe that is has been nearly four weeks since little Victoria came into the world, but yet at the same time, it is hard to believe that she hasn't always been apart of our family. I promised a post about her birth story, and am only now finding a few minutes to sit down and document how this little one entered the world.

I was a week past my due date, and with the move coming so quickly, I felt I had no choice but to succumb to my doctor's wishes of being induced. I was put on Pitocin with Antalya's labor and knew I didn't want to go through that again, but also accepted the fact that some things were just out of my control. So after several days of tears I reluctantly headed to the hospital after dinner on July 13th. I was scheduled to receive a drug that night to help soften my cervix and then start the Pitocin the next morning. And since my labor with Antalya was about 24 hours, we decided that everyone would get more sleep if I went by myself and Jason stayed home to be with Antalya - then the next morning Jason could drop Antalya off at Gramma's and come to hospital to be with me.

Well, my prayers were answered! Firstly, by the doctor on call that night that told me having an IV was completely up to me and he would not fight me over it - of course I chose no IV. And secondly, at 10:00 that night I started having regular contractions (the drug they gave me was only supposed to cause some cramping - not contractions). They weren't very strong, but they were consistent - every 7-10 minutes. I tried to call Jason only to discover that in the labor and delivery wing of the hospital there is absolutely no cell phone service, and he couldn't be reached by the phone in the room because his number is long distance. I got worried that I would need him there sooner than the morning and would have no way of contacting him. So after calling my mom, and having her call Jason for me we decided it would be best if Jason just came to hospital that night. Luckily, one of Antalya's older cousins was able to come over to sleep at the house so Antalya wouldn't have to be woken up. By 11:30pm Jason was at the hospital with me and we settled down to try to get as much sleep as possible, knowing the next day could be awfully long and tiring.

For the most part we were able to sleep through the night - just occasional visits from the nurse. At 6:30am the nurse came in to check on me and told me I was dilated to a 1 and that they would be starting the pitocin soon. After she left I got up to use the bathroom and then came back to bed hoping to sleep for another hour or so, but as soon as I laid back down the contractions started getting stronger. By 7:00am I knew going back to sleep was not going to be an options so I got out of bed and started timing my contractions again - they were coming every 3-4 minutes and were getting more and more intense. I sent Jason to go get some breakfast for the both of us, and by the time he got back I was having a hard time talking through the contractions. Against my better judgement, I ate some pancakes, which shortly thereafter came right back up - which I didn't mind at all - it was just another confirmation that I was really in labor. When the nurse came in about 8:30 to tell me the doctor was on her way to start the Pitocin, I begged to just have a little more time. So she agreed that we could go walk around for a half hour before the doctor came. At 9:00 the nurse found us in the hallway to tell us we needed to go back to the room so they could start the pitocin. I couldn't understand why they kept insisting when my contractions were every 2-3 minutes and it was taking all my concentration to make it through each one. I stood my ground and told her I wasn't ready yet and so the doctor would have to wait another 30 minutes. We continued pacing back and forth in the hallways. At 9:30 the doctor came to our room and tried very politely to explain that I could have contractions for a really long time before active labor even begins, and that if I wasn't dilated to at least 4 cm they were going to start the pitocin and I just needed accept that. I was having such a hard time making it through each contractions, with every contraction I was starting to shake and I felt so weak, that I couldn't believe anyone was telling me I wasn't in active labor yet. The doctor checked me and was surprised to find that I was already 6 cm. She broke my water and told me she would back in two hours to check on me.

When she left I told Jason there was no way I was doing this for another two hours. After she broke my water each contraction was progressively stronger than the one before. I couldn't believe it when just 30 minutes later I was telling Jason to go get the nurse because I was ready to push. That was at 10:00am. Shortly thereafter the doctor arrived and the nurse started getting every ready for Victoria's arrival. It felt like an eternity waiting for it all. I kept watching the clock wishing they would hurry up. At 10:07 they were finally all ready. The next half hour of pushing was the hardest. My body was so exhausted and I kept finding myself wanting to say "I can't do this" but at the same time, knowing full well that I had no choice, and I could and I would do it. At 10:37 a slimy, squirmy, wailing little body was handed to me. I had done it - and was holding the reward of all the hard work I had just gone through.

I know unmedicated childbirth isn't always possible, and doesn't appeal to a lot of people, but for me, it was truly an answer to prayers and can only hope the next birth goes as quickly and smoothly as this one did.

What's in a name - Victoria Roene:
Victoria comes from Victoria Falls in Africa. It is one the seven wonders of the world. To me, the falls represent beauty, strength, power, and majesty.
Roene was the name of my great-grandma on my mom's side. To me, her life represents a life of service, love, hard-work, charity and commitment to what you believe in. She was truly a disciple of Christ and was about as saintly as a person can become in this life. She had so much energy and enthusiasm for life. One of my favorite things about her was her five minute naps. She would go, go, go until she was exhausted, then sit down and immediately fall asleep, then wake up five minutes later refreshed and ready to keep on going.

I hope as my little girl grows that she will remember why we chose her name and that she will take on some of the traits we see in the breathtaking falls and her great-grandma Roene.